More Evidence of Unnecessary Police Violence Circling in Yerevan

Unzipped reports, that today Armenian opposition have distributed video evidence (below) confirming, that special police units have shot towards protesters during 1 March events, despite official claims, that they were shooting in the air only or not shooting at all.
According to the official position voiced a couple of days ago by Sona Truzyan, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor-General: “The preliminary investigation will establish all circumstances of the deaths. I can state basing on the data of the preliminary investigation available as of today that no shot was fired in the direction of the demonstrators even during the mass unrest” Truzyan said, adding that to quell the riots police used tear gas and tracer bullets fired solely into the air.
As I have said earlier on this blog, there is a real need to investigate not only the reasons of violence that erupted in Armenia after the February 19 Presidential elections, but also, the activities of the police forces, special services and the military. Even if we discard all the claims about “provocateurs” being put to use by special services, that opposition keeps speaking about, I would evaluate the activities of the law-enforcement bodies unacceptably incompetent, to say the least. They have failed in all and everthing one would have expected from police forces in a situation we saw in Yerevan during horrible events of March 1-2. They could not provide security of our citizens, their property, transport, businesses. They were not able to regulate traffic to make sure minibuses and troleybuses don’t fall in the hands of protesters and turn into barricades, they were not able to disperse protesters. They were not able to do anything! One wonders, why on earth do we have all these police forces if they can’t do anything, except kill our citizens!

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. I guess the video is on YouTube, huh? If so, we can’t see it here because of the block. Can someone post it on multiple video streaming sites?

  2. Yeah – the video is on YouTube. Unfortunately, I have no computer here, and am blogging for a crappy internet cafe computer, so can’t promise anyting 🙁

  3. PS: I have to state, that I was among the protesters, and although nothing on earth could make me shout “Levon, Levon!”, I shouted “Re-elections” and “Serzhik Go Away!”, with quite an enjoyment. So when I say police couldn’t disperse protesters, its not like I supported the dispersing protesters part. However, I accept, that in a decent country, you don’t have endless protests, and police were supposed to disperse it, and not kill anybody while doing it!

  4. Maybe someone else out there can post it on a variety of other video hosting sites (I won’t name them to prevent them being blocked too) as well as hosting on normal servers scattered around the globe. Seems ironic that all of you out there can see these videos and we can’t here in Armenia.

  5. ditord, does it not occur to you that the police was unable to keep order as you say because the police in Armenia do not carry arms and in less numbers in order to overcome the protestors who fought back and threw gasoline bombs.
    also, i see the shooting in the video but it doesn’t explain what instigated the shooting, if the protestors were also shooting or throwing deadly bombs or other lethal objects, then certainly the shootings would be warranted as in any other civilized country’s police. If that dramatis zed slow motion video is all you have, i think your title “More Evidence of Unnecessary Police Violence” is out of line and biased.
    I hope that everyone involved in passing information out should use utmost caution in passing out wrong information and fueling fire to the already not stable people who have been pushed to the edge.

  6. Armen, what did you expect from people? police drive tanks through people and you expect people to lie under the tanks? of course, they will protcet themselves…that is the basic instinct—in such painful situation nobody can be objective–the fact is that there were no violations during the 9 day demonstration unless Armenian police got involved—anytime Armenian police get involved in anything, things just get worse—sadly, that is the true nature of ARmenian law-enforcment [assuming that there is law in Armenia] and police

  7. Armenia is a dictatorship what you expect the dictators to provide security for people?
    They are only capable of attacking people while they are asleep in their tents.
    From the video it is obviouse that the special forces are shooting at people while they are not being shot at. They freely walk in a group, target and shoot like terminators. It seems that they are very confident and well trained to do that. If they were shot at they were not such idiots to walk freely, they would get behind a cover. I also suspect that they are a group of mercenarries and they would continue shooting if people wer not asked by levon to go homes.
    It is also obviouse that the police moved out to let the provocators, looters and this killing squad to do their business.
    On the other note none of the state officials honoured the dead. Instead they offered the parents to sign under papers that they died before march 1st.
    And then you come and talk about the duties of the state and about morality. Forget about it, Armenia is ruled by thugs and we gotta do something about this. Isnt it all clear enought by now?
    According to some sources they were some instances when people who were in their apartments and were looking at the events from their windows were shot from roof top sharpshooters. They were 2-3 such cases.
    We still dont know the real number of killed and injured. According to my counts based on eye witnesses teh number is definitly higher than 8. It is naive to think that after scha crime they would publish the real numbers.
    It is also said that most if not all the dead were shot on head or heart. I guess we will find out the reality after the defeat of this junta regime.

  8. I have started to doubt the 8 people dead part, too. After seeing the video with my eyes and listening to the prosecutor’s spokeswoman, it is clear that you cannot trust anything that the Armenian government says.

  9. Armen:
    The point is that the government is plain lying when it tells us that there was no shooting at people. The shooters slow down, pause and shoot. The guns are horizontal, i.e. they are not shooting in the air.
    It may be my imagination, but we see a group dragging a wounded person along the sidewalk. Then we see the shooters running in the same direction along what seems to be the same sidewalk. Of course the two scenes could be at different times. But, it may be that the shooters were giving chase and on the offensive.
    I don’t know what to make of the three guys throwing something that seems to sxplode around a corner. Any opinions?

  10. edig, it’s a bullet that hits the wall and creates these sparks.

  11. Hayrenaser? et ures? mi ban asa lsenq. Erevi kases shat el lav en arel che? bolor qez nman hayrenaserner’ da en asum… erevi qo hayreniq’ Haystan’ chi ha?
    Es qez shat lav em patkeracnum: mqacrac apakinerov sev jeepot meqenai xekin, vori hamar’ kam 888 e, kam el 777, sev aknocnerov, hast vzov ev datark glxov. Harenasirutyunnel vraicd tapuma.
    Miyan hayrenaserner’ karox ein hraman harcakel vor mardkac vra kraken, miyan hayrenaserner’ karox ein et hraman’ katarel…

  12. I hope there are some level headed people interested in stopping mass hysteria. Before all these accusations start flying based on this video, may I ask a few rhetorical questions?
    Who was the policeman shooting at? Rubber bullets or live ammo (note, that the kickback from the gun nor the impact on the protester throwing something doesn’t look like live ammo to me). Clearly there was loss of control that night. Strangely, supporters find it admirable on LTP’s part that he commanded people to dig in and fight, and only after blood was spilled to go home. They may find it admirable. I find it despicable, willful and a perfect example of his readiness to sacrifice his people for his personal gain.
    If it is true that even one policeman fired on innocent civilians, I deplore that action. And it proves yet another example of lies from the state TV. (BTW, I would love to see even one of LTP’s rabid followers exit their trance for a minute and state that Pashinyan’s spewing of hatred was example after example of disinformation, lies, and provocation aimed at revving up whoever believed even a word he says … leading to the result we all witnessed on March 1).
    But let’s also not get caught in the next frenzied wave of hysteria. There is a process for this. It is called fight the democratic fight. Fight to have votes counted, fight to be heard in court (and pls go in with a good argument, not the frivolous point about Serj not being logally able to run as current PM…please).
    This kind of fight attracts people from all walks of life. Instead, calling for revolution, getting what you asked for (a fight?!, duh), and then complaining about democratic principles, or that people are lying on TV in a state of emergency is simply out of place and naive.

  13. I think some people on this forum just have no clue of police authority in all countries in the world to break up overdue illegal protests or gatherings. In any western country including the USA, when permission for a protest or gathering has been taken away or not granted, the Police moves in to disperse the crowd. Unlike Armenia, the police in the USA have arms to shoot at any protestor which is in any way a threat to their lives with any lethal object even if the object is not used against them and the protestor refuses to disarm after repeated orders.
    However, in Armenia the opposite happened, the protestors were armed with deadly weapons and Armenia’s police weren’t. Hence there was need for Armenia’s army to move in on the 2nd day to restore order and use deadly force when necessary which is no different than in any other country. If Armenia’s state information stated no deadly force was used, then that is certainly not likely to be true and according to this video is not true. If any Armenian army personnel went overboard and shot without due cause, then certainly those soldiers must be punished. This video doesn’t indicate the police or army went overboard as there is no picture of what the protestors were doing to instigate the shooting by army.
    Again i hope everyone uses caution in their statements and not make blanket false accusations. This is why i think the title of this video is irresponsible and only fuels fire to an already small crowd of over the edge protestors.

  14. AH, are you saying that the violation of the Constitution by serge is frivolous as in insignificant or as in legally unsound? In either case consider yourself a “genius”

  15. [[[Again, I hope everyone uses caution … and not make blanket statements.]]]
    What BS are you talking about, man? In your second paragraph starting w/ “However, in Armenia the opposite” you are making a blanket statement and then telling everyone not to make blanket statements?
    Do you know fer suuur?
    Was your azz there at the time?
    Were you getting an live broadcast sent exclusive to your home at the time?
    Were you briefed by the President of Armenia personally that “the opposite happened”?
    1. If government did not people to protest, they could have said so. Make a law, whatever, publish on TV, tell people not to come out. It is called warning. If police are about to shoot, they warn. You know why govt. did not do it? Because govt thought it would not work.
    2. Government was crapping in their pants, and they made a strategic move. They moved in on the position of the protesters during the night. During daylight, they would not have had a chance. Too many protesters would overpower any force, take their weapons away and then shoot back. Angry crowd is hard to control. Again, for your “blanket statement” brain to understand, government came up with the best possible plan (from government’s point of view, not people’s) to crush the protests.
    3. Do you want to hear a blanket statement? How about this. A government that pretends to be democratic, and democratically elected, removes the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, and the freedom of assembly? “In any western country including the USA”, if you do that, your political future is finished “in any western country”. Well, it is happening in Armenia, so conclusion for your “blanket statement” theory:
    Armenia is nowhere near the level of “Any western country”, my dear “blanget statement” theorist.
    4. What, the people moved in one the police using “paytikner” (little wooden stick) or “dzoghikner” (little metal sticks)? Did the police had to go to Home Depot to buy those little wooden sticks before they brought the TV cameras in to tape those “weapons of mass destruction”? C’mon, give me a break, man. IF THE PROTESTERS HAD TAKEN ARMS, THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT STAND A CHANCE.
    And for the rest of you reading this forum. Don’t base your opinion or assessment of the situation based on 1, 2, or 3 videos. Judge based on the overall information available.
    Because information is freedom. Information is power. Inforwation is liberating, and the government is afraid to give information to people right now.
    When you answer those questions for youself, you will realize for yourself who is right and who is wrong.

  16. After seeing this video I am even more convinced that what the police did that day was ABSOLUTELY right. To kick these drunk,drugged, and dirty Levoni tsaker out of the streets of Yerevan,if some of them got killed or injured, I say it in all responsibility:they were ASKING for it. In any corner of the world when you participate in illegal demonstrations and riots you are risking your life.
    I am very happy as an Armenian that things are slowly retuirning to normal. Levon is about to be put in jail and this whole thing will die away by the time Serge Sarkisyan assumes office in April. Then the summer will come: Tourists , Armenians from all over the world as usual… happy times. And the zombies out of Armenia’s way.
    Levon you tried. Levon you failed. And I am happy you failed. Never again ,never in your dreams will you lie to the Armenian people!

  17. Hayrenaser, I still haven’t been able to watch this video, but it is wrong to justify the use of firearms in a riot situation. When it gets out of control and a state of emergency is called that justifies the use of the military, sure. But I don’t think that was the situation on 1 March. If anything, it highlights the inability of the police to control crowd situations and as two international journalists pointed out, as with Georgia last November, there will now be moves to establish and train a proper riot squad with proper equipment that does not use live ammunition. It might not be a consolation to protesters at future demonstrations that get out of control, but the most extreme form of weapon in such situations should rubber bullets and used only as a last resort. Water cannon should have been used.

  18. Onnik,
    You could have the best-trained riot squad that still doesn’t guarantee anything. You might also note that this is the first ever time in Yerevan’s history that ARMED protesters filled with hatred of weeks and months cause riots. Loss of human lives is tragic. But we sound like armchair critics when we just criticize the police for not doing this and that without knowing how hard their job was.
    As far as I’m concerned this was terrorism against the state committed by LTP , he should bare the consequences. For sure,people like Nazarian and Isabella Sarkisian or the demented Hayk are doing everything possible to present LTP as the people’s candidate, as the martyr , as the greatest leader: but they have missed the train. The brainwashed are coming back to their senses. This is over, this is finished, aus und vorbei! Especially now that LTP doesn’t have immunity anymore from being jailed

  19. HMZ – “…the violation of the Constitution by serge…”
    Please cite the article “violated.”

  20. Hayrenaser, you know I don’t buy into the Levon the Saviour line and have expressed my concerns constantly regarding the attempt to divide and spread hatred among Armenians. However, while I do agree that this set the scene for the clashes and actually made them inevitable, there are also other issues. Regardless of what you are confronted with, the authorities also have to work withing the law and strict guidelines before resorting to extreme force or declaring a state of emergency.
    Then again, I still haven’t seen the video so will save further comments for then. However, just to say that law enforcement personnel must first obey the law themselves. On the other hand, as was pointed out to me in Georgia, Armenian police are ill-equipped to deal with such situations so it highlights the urgent need for proper equipment and training. Besides, wouldn’t water cannons be a logical first step for them on Saturday night?
    Regarding tanks, as Lus comments, it has to be said that western observers understood the army was going to be called in as soon as protesters barricaded themselves off with buses. That instantly took matters to the next level as the police don’t have anything with which to deal with such blockades. We can also say that the dispersal of the Liberty Square protesters was also badly handled and set the scene for the night’s events as well.
    Incidentally, on that, someone pointed out something about possible disinformation from Levon’s team about the morning dispersal. They claim warrants are required before conducting searches, but as far as I am aware, anyone in a public place can be searched on the basis of probable cause. This was not private property or an office, it was a public area occupied illegally.

  21. Many people still don’t get it – this is not about LTP, this is about us not letting murderers to govern us. F*** LTP. I wasted 30 years of my life trying to put up with the corrupt governments in Armenia, we gave them chance to evolve, they blew it. I’d rather become a suicide bomber than let this “government” enslave me.

  22. HiRebel – I think you hit the nail on the head. I for one have no plans on becoming a suicide bomber, and I hope (think) that many do not either. I agree there is much that needs to improve in the govenment, in the civic culture of the population etc. It is simply a difference of tactics. I think/hope we can agree that we all want a better country.
    As such, I feel it is a strongly tenable position to be FOR democratic evolution and AGAINST the anti-democratic hijacking of the disenfranchised by LTP.

  23. Artur djan,the video is very bad fabricated.
    Nothing is clear from that video.
    Even location where soldier shoot and when we see wounded people are different.
    Moreover,it is cklear for me that sound of shooting was made days after the video.
    Are you sure that soldiers are shooting with bullets(боевой)? I doubt.
    Furthermore,if so,we should see dozens of kileed people,but this video doesn’t show victims.
    So far,please,be very careful,when place such kind of disinformation spread in Internet by supporters of Levon.
    From my side,small advice,do not believe to any video coming after 3 -rd of March.
    From both sides.
    Sincerely your

  24. Well, I’ve finally managed to watch this video. Firstly, there is nothing in there that proves the police or army shot dead protesters on sight. However, there is no doubt that the group of soldiers, police, whoever were firing directly at something and one can rule out that they were shooting at nothing. They’re firing at something and I don’t think they’re returning fire because in such a case you would be doing so behind cover and not advancing as these guys are. I can’t say if they’re rubber bullets or not because I don’t know if they’re even used here or distributed.
    However, as I haven’t seen any reports saying they were being used, I can only assume they’re shooting live rounds or tracers — both of which are not good because they’re being fired in the direction of something. Even warning shots would be fired in the air. The problem with this video is we don’t know what they’re shooting at although for sure, that they’re doing so raises serious doubts about the handling of 1 March.
    Whether Levon Ter-Petrossian was hoping to stage a coup d’etat under the guise of a “pseudo-democratic revolution” and whether or not some protesters were armed, this is not the way for the security forces to operate. Definitely, an independent enquiry needs to be conducted and anyone guilty prosecuted. Same is true for any opposition supporters or leaders who advocated or are guilty of violence.

  25. Tigran, how do you explain a group of soldiers running and shooting with their guns level and pointing ahead? On the other hand, I would also suggest caution about claims of people dying until an independent enquiry is conducted.
    There is a lot of disinformation coming from Levon’s team — it’s been their trademark in fact. However, I can’t deny that there is what looks to be a group of police or soldiers advancing on something and shooting directly ahead of them as they do so.

  26. Armen, xi ches qo azganunn el grum (Abelyan) vor mardik imanan vor du Serjiki referentn es?
    Video-i masin, shaterd ainpes eq xosum, vonc vor Serjiki lawer@ lineq! Skzbum asum eq chen krakel, heto ete krakel en ba xi chi erevum te um kpav, heto ete kpav u spanec mekin uremn da zinvac xuligan er…………
    Um kpav kam chkpav-@ chi harc@. Harc@ en a vor nuinisk offical 8 hogi zoh ka u parzvum a vor erb ishxanutiun@ asum a vor irenq chen krakel da sut a. Hetevabar iranc amboxch versian a kaskaceli darnum nuinisk nranc hamar ov minchev aid havatum er iranc.
    Hayrenaser es inch es, aselov vor aid mardik “were asking to be shot” hima du es ask anum vor gluxd jardvi. U ete du chisht lineir te mardik zinvac ein apa vostikanutiunic 1 zoh cher lini. Asem vor es shat urax em vor gone koxmeric mek@, joxovurd@, ainqan gitakcutiun unecel a vor zenq chi kirarel u es chei uzena vor vostikanutiunic zoher linein. Hancagocutiun katarac ishxanutiunnerin voch te petq a spanel ail petq a datel orenqov, hakarak depqum inchov enq menq nrancic tarbervum.
    Lusnic @nkac mardik kan vor koch en anum qaxaqakirt exanakov tuiltvutiun stanal u 1 or meeting anelov azdel ishxanutian vra. Es 10 tarin dzez ban chsovorecrec? Mnum a arajarkeq vor hailurin namak gren xndrelov eter tramadrel u spasen te karox a arachika 25-30 tarum mi 5 rope toxen alternative karciq nerkaiacnen. U ishxanutiunneri henc nman himar u tulamort qaxaqakanutiunn a vor stipum a mardkanc mtacel HiRebel-i pes. Chen haskanum vor mi qich el aispes sharunakelu depqum da voch te xosqer klinen ail shat suicide bomberner i hait kgan. Ev es da cavov em asum.
    Chnaiac arden lav patasxan exel a verevum en mardkanc ovqer uzum en mer ishxanutiunnerin hamematel “western” erkrneri het baic es el em uzum asel vor mard petq a ahagin degradacvac lini nman himar hamematutiun berelu hamar. Fransia-i depqer@ shatern en hishum: eter@ pakvec?; informacian sahmanapakvec?; @nddimutiun@ dzerbakalvec?; markanc vra krkaecin u spanecin?
    Armen Abelyan u Hayrenaser kochecial, mi qich mard exeq ete der andarnali popoxutiunner chi exel dzer mot.

  27. AH: serge violated Article 51 of Constitution by not complying with Electoral Code, Article 78

  28. hai,
    Terevs ches haskanum.
    Yes ays verchi 3 amis-e miayn u miayn a1plus-i nyutern em kardatsel u tesel , zhamanak,haykakan zhamanak,chorrort ishxanootyoon yevayln, yev asem, aynbisi zzvank em aprel Levon Ter Petrosyan kochetzyali massin, aynbisi hakakrank ir asadsnerin,sterin, kuyr atelootyan vor vjrel em paykarel ed vochrakords fascist-i dem.
    Levon-e ir xelatsootioon-e gordsatsets amenavat baneri hamar yev miayn nra badjarov azg-e andarnalee koroostner oonecav.
    Yes k handartvem miayn ayn banic verch yerp Levon,Nikol,Aram,Sasoon,Khachatur yev Lyudmila (aravel ayn toorki tsagere voronq arden bantarkvads en) gtnen nranc patij-e yev bantarkven kone mi 2-3 tari. Ayn aten miayn joghovoort-e kstapvee yev voch mek ankam chi krknvee terrorism-e mer azg-ee dem.
    Yev mi harc Levon srikayi tsakerin… Ba Levon-e asoom er ,banak-e tsez a mianaloo, Vostikanootyoon-e tsez a mianaloo, oligarchnere tsez en miyanaloo, Artur Baghdasarian-e (Parq nran!) tsez a mianaloo. Ba inch katarvec? ur mnaceen et xostoomnere? shad parz. Levon-e krkin stec , Yerevan-e averec, 8 hogoo spanets yev ir tak toon-e gnac, ir diplomanere nkatec oo hrjvec.
    Ay vochxarner…

  29. i’m not sure who “armen abelyan” is but it’s not me and i don’t work for the gov’t nor am i a supporter of Serge’s govt’t, it’s clear he rigged the elections and would not have one in the first round without rigging. I’m also against violent coup attempts led by a criminal.
    However, as an unbiased witness of the video where soldiers are firing, and also witness of other videos where coup rioters are throwing deadly weapons at soldiers, I cannot put blame on soldiers for firing in that video because the video does not show why they’re firing and who they’re firing at.
    My point is that we cannot lay blame and jump to some of the outrageous conclusions some Levon supporters are putting out there.

  30. hmz – The alleged violation you discuss was ruled on by the Constitutional Court. The elections took place weeks ago, and were confirmed a few days after Feb 19. End of elections.
    What should interest LTP and his supporters now are the articles in the Election Code and Criminal Code regarding hate-mongering and inciting ethnic hatred. I think an excellent precedent for democratic rights/responsibilities related to human rights and freedom of speech could be made by pressing civil and criminal charges against LTP, Pashinyan and others who promoted ethnic hatred and hate-speech in their call-to-arms pre- and post-Opera disco days.

  31. […] in Armenia casts doubts over a video posted on the Internet allegedly showing soldiers firing directly on protesters during the 1 March […]

Comments are closed.